The Escape Rooms Newport – Torture Corp

Summary
A room that left us disappointed and frustrated. Innovative and faithful to its theme, probably a fun experience for those new to escape rooms, but enervating, unexciting and frustrating to veterans.

Review
I don’t normally back Kickstarters, but something about Escape Rooms Newport made it look like it stood out from the crowd. I went in for the top-level package entitling me to play the game in a team of up to 6 and then act as the game master for another team. I gave the room a month and a half or so to get into gear before coming down from London for the day to try it all out.

I recruited eight members of Team Judge to come and play across two attempts – playing myself in the first round, and acting as the host second time around for my friends. The experience started the day before, somewhat intriguingly, but to say more would be a spoiler.
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Modern Fables – The Escapist

Summary
In a warehouse in the deep depths of South Bermondsey lies The Escapist, a rough speakeasy where you can get rough drinks and meet rough people. Lavinia, one of the operators, has turned up missing. We needed to go and discovery what on earth was going on.

Review
I’ll try not to over-egg the pudding in terms of travel, but you could scarcely believe this venue is in Zone 2 – we took a bus to South Bermondsey station from whence it was a 15 minute walk, but it felt like we were much further out. We arrived just on time and after getting through the gate found ourselves in, well, a very rough-looking room with board walls and a bar in the corner. And Alfie, Lavinia’s assistant.
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We Escape – Taken

Summary
A linear and very uncomplicated game which would serve as a good introduction to the genre for new players. Experienced players won’t get much out of it.

Review
Currently the only game in town – Cork’s We Escape is owned by a Hungarian, somewhat unsurprisingly. On a trip to my home town of Cork, a trip seemed indicated. I rounded up two cousins and my sister, who were joined by her two friends. On average the six of us had played just over 3 games each… formed of five zeroes and my 22 😀
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Mission Breakout – Codebreakers

Summary
This could have been so much more. An awesome location and a decent concept let down by confusing puzzles and a string of defects.

Review
When I first found out about Mission Breakout and the amazing setting of an abandoned London Underground station, it jumped up high on the list of places I wanted to try out. Team Ninty was able to gather together to play.

The premise here is that MI6 has found a leak, raided a bunker and switched off all the decoding machinery, and that you need to switch them back on and decode the source of the leak before they come back in an hour and you all get nicked.
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Lock’d – Perpetuum Mobile

Summary
We loved the tech and theming of the room, which a lot of love and effort has clearly gone into. Pretty short though.

Review
Having played the venue’s other two games earlier that day, we found out that Perpetuum Mobile was free in the next slot and our host reeled us in with a discount, the room otherwise likely to go empty. It would have been rude not to.

We were invited to don lab coats to play; I must say I think this is becoming a bit of a trope. It’s the third or fourth time I’ve come across it and whilst it’s cute for newbies, it’s usually a combination of overheating and uncomfortable for the rest of us. Less, please.
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Do Stuff Escape Games – Hostage Hideout

Summary
Wonderful hosts make this a memorable game. Innovative puzzles. Quite cramped inside. A couple of defects.

Review
Battersea is probably best known for the dogs and cats home, but a recent addition to the local businesses is Do Stuff Escape Games. Sharing space with the Grove, an amazing gaming pub with all sorts of cult memorabilia strewn around, it’s a recent addition to south London’s escape room stable. Team Judge was taking up the Groupon offer to try it out.

Tipped off by the various reviews, we arrived in good enough time to order from the bountiful menu of burgers (lamb, beef, horse, venison, chicken, and veggie all feature) and these were most enjoyable.
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Escape London – Area 51

Summary
Highly linear, lots of different and new kinds of puzzles to enjoy in a sci-fi themed adventure. Accessible for beginners.

Review
A week later and a player shorter, Team Judge (linkaneo, reb, and I) returned for our second visit to Escape London, on this occasion full of Nando’s. The staff were as pleasant as ever and made small talk until the appointed time.

The story here is investigating an alien invasion incident in a restricted area. I’m not sure why we only had an hour to do it, although it might have been because we’d get nicked, or abducted, or something. It didn’t really matter, as you will see.
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